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Submitted By Lilalilypop
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Although sometimes seen by parents or even educators as a “waste of time”, 21st century scholars consider that “free-play” (Bruce, T., 2006) has significant short and long term benefits for children, leading to a healthy psychical and emotional development and better understanding of the world (Bjorklung & Pellegrini in Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2010). This article will cover an explanation of the concept of play, from different perspectives, together with its characteristics and types, taking into account the latest findings in the child development literature on the impact and benefits of play. I will also examine how play facilitates and is impacted by the child’s physical, intellectual, linguistic, emotional and social development during the first six years of life and how adults can support play.

Drawing from the works of Moyles (2005), Bruce (2006), Mcleod-Brudenell and Kay (2008), MCI (undated), Goldschmeid & Jackson (2009) and Wood & Attfield (2005), play is a freely chosen process in which children engage with their already acquired knowledge, values and skills, and which has as end result, although not direct purpose, the development or refinement of further lifelong physical, socio-emotional and cognitive skills. It is a natural inclination (Moyles, 2005), a creative attitude in which the child attains a degree of independence supported by the representations of his inner and outer worlds (Wood & Attfield, 2005).

There are several characteristics of play. First of all, play is child chosen and spontaneous (Wood & Attfield, 2005). It unfolds in a creative manner and it can stop as unexpectedly as it began. Adults may come with ideas of play but a child will only accept what will resonate with his/her inner needs or passions. So another characteristic is that play is an intrinsically motivated process (Bruce, 2006).


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